Embreeville State Hospital
Too many people. I feared it would lead to an issue, but on the cusp of a good time I let the matter slide and buried the logical half of my disputing intuition with the promise off chill roof-top talks and alcohol. I mean, I knew the place well yet the people accompanying me nowhere near thorough enough, a comforting combination really, for no guilt in leaving those I care not about behind to fend for themselves, if such a warranting situation were to arise. I figured I'd use these new acquaintances as merely a social escape anyway; perhaps shoot the shit for a bit, trade adventure stories. I'd feel like a normal out-going human for the day, maybe sharpen my social skills too. It would be all fun and mind games for me, serving more as a hidden ploy to stimulate my own social sanity at the expensive of neurotypical human beings, for what would they know?
I met the girl through a Facebook connection. We exchanged a few messages about exploring abandoned buildings and where we had adventured in the past. However I was very much fatigued with our electronic conversations; dull and typical, it took all my mental strength to conjure up seemingly candid response after response, yet I continued on, merely because she looked pretty. I feared if we met in person her personality would be just as unimaginative as her misspelled message responses. But still I continued to answer because she looked pretty. How juvenile, how low, yes I know. But sometimes a flower is worth watering if only to sever as a floral trophy later.
She, from Pennsylvania had mentioned to me online of her desire to explore the abandoned Embreeville State Hospital, not far from her residence in the Keystone State. It's a rather boring asylum I've concluded and being I had already explored the campus throughly before, I was hesitant to mentioned to her I'd been there, predicting she'd use my knowledge as a leash to pull me in to going back again with her. But she is pretty and so I told her that I had been there a couple years prior. However I made sure to express my disapproval of the old hospital buildings. I mentioned they were modern, empty, ugly and that the Pennsylvania State Troopers operated barracks nearly right on hospital property; slyly establishing a case through context clues that I did not want to go back, without actually physically stating so, as to avoid hurt feelings. I mentioned the claustrophobic tunnels full of mutant mice size cave crickets trained to jump at the slightest movement. I made sure to hit on the fact that hallways within a few buildings were alarmed and armed, the slightest motion would trigger the response of the onsite security guards within minutes notice. I typed out this slew of inaccurate accusations all quickly assembled as a latch ditch scare-tactic to dissuade her from wanting to go. How could it fail? "No problem", she responds back in a message. "Sounds like fun and don't worry about the police".
And so, we agreed to meet up on a Sunday sometime within the next few weeks to explore Embreeville. I was not at all thrilled with the plan, but I dug myself into such an adventure and so I'd have to explore my way out yet again, but hell, she was pretty. Perhaps the hospital would be a bit more decayed thus photogenic this year around I thought as I held my doubts. We continued to message each other and talk sporadically online over the course of the following weeks. Ever uninspiring the conversations continued. Herself too jaded to realize she was killing me with her own predictable small-talk. But she did seem super excited to finally see Embreeville. It was her dream, she was going to take hundreds of pictures, spend hours inside, she stated over and over. And here in my mind I thought I was fucked. I'm just in it for the adventure mostly, and Embreeville is an adventure sort of like how Splenda is sugar, not really so, merely just a substitute for something better to be had.
Within the passing days we established a time and nondescript place to meet. When that Sunday arrived I woke up before the sun to drive hours out to West Chester, Pennsylvania. I arrived mid-morning, approximately five minutes late to our designated meeting spot. My vehicle is the only car in the lot. Phone vibrates, she'll be fifteen minutes late. My blood boils for a fraction of a second, I hate tardiness! Idle time is always haunting me it seems but like a serial murderer I'm expert at killing it. I step out of my car and decide to check out the pretty wildflowers growing in the field across the street, realizing full well they'll be the most interesting thing I see all day. Ten or so minutes later a white Ford Explorer pulls into the lot, I recognize her from her online photo, she's driving, but the car is also full with other people. Despite the car radio blaring I can her the passengers talking loudly about everything and nothing. She kills the engine and steps out, I wave as I cross back over the street walking closer to her vehicle. We introduce ourselves as if we've known each other for years. She mentioned she had brought a few friends along and hopes I don't mind. I'm able to utter no more then one syllable about my disapproval of her pals tagging along before her passenger doors swing open. Like a clown car, three goons plop out all rallied up for an adventure I know I'm now stuck babysitting them on.
The three less-than-gentlemen introduce themselves quickly, each extending out with a douchey handshake while expressing a smug, shit eating grin about their faces. All three difficult to distinguish from one another for they're all wearing baggy black clothing and appear as tools one would use to pry open a sewage jammed manhole cover with. One of the fools is incessantly puffing on an e-cigarette too, looking extra silly; the peach scented vapor is really beginning to sting my brain. Fortunately it's not a far walk to the asylum entrance from where we've parked, but mentally I'm already exhausted. I noticed the one dude is carrying a small crow bar, I mention to him to leave it in the car, but his immediate response is confrontational. He begins talking loudly and in circles about how he might need it if he gets locked in a room, has to beat up a crack head, or break out of a padded room; a bunch of idiotic nonsense. Fantastic!
Sneaking onto the shuttered, overgrown hospital campus was as effortless has it had been three years prior. Within just a few minutes I managed to sneak the goon gang one by one into a tunnel hatch where their rowdy comments were only amplified by the cavernous underground stretch of hollow earth. "Shut the fuck up bro, we gotta be somewhat quite from this point one" I yell back to one of the tools! They all hush down for a few minutes, perhaps more stunned at my remark rather than my request for silence. The girl appears unfazed, hanging back and snapping photos. The second we pop into the first abandoned building they scatter like a hound after a rabbit. I can hear them running around the upper floors, kicking doors open, acting stupid. Still I'm not worried, I know Embreeville is easy, a joke. Not the worst place to be loud and rambunctious within, actually it might be the best. The girl mentions to me she's going to go back down into the steam tunnel system to shoot a few pictures. Myself in no mood to walk back down the stairs, tell her to go ahead and that I'll catch up later.
Making my way up to the roof I gaze over the edge and spot parked outside, in clear view with windows rolled down, a Pennsylvania State Trooper SUV. Fuck! Here were are, a large group, separated, being noisy as all hell, and oblivious to potential impending doom. I notice the trooper is on his radio, voice inaudible but his mouth is clearly moving. I look over to see the three idiots prying loose with the crowbar a concrete slab from the edge of the roof. They're making all sorts of noise too, completely oblivious to the cop parked just below. Desperate to catch their attention I flair my arms around, but they're all primitive idiots, can't perceive anything outside of themselves. I have no way to communicate with them nor alert them to shut the fuck up!
I can tell the three are still working at prying the slab off when suddenly a massive piece breaks loose and slides off from the roof edge smashing into the asphalt below, where it explodes into tiny pieces of cement shrapnel, spraying the windshield of the cop cruiser. The debris quickly settles followed by a roar of laughter and chanting by the idiots. The officer throws on his sirens and lights but is unable to back up because of the debris field. He yells something threatening over the bull horn but it's too amplified to clearly discern. Then without warning the remainder of concrete slab dangling over the roof ledge breaks loose and jets toward the ground, this time piercing the roof of the SUV. Immediately the lights and blaring sirens on the vehicle go dead. I can hear the doofuses on the roof now uttering chants of panic. "HOLY SHIT, WHAT THE FUCK, DUDE YOU'RE A FUCKING IDIOT!", followed by a stampede of running, then silence.
I'm stunned, frozen in place, myself beginning to panic. All I can tell is about half of the slab is still jetting out from the roof of the cop car and broken glass outlines the vehicle. I move down to a lower floor window to get a better view of the patrol vehicle, all the while I'm shaking tremendously, my legs jell-o. The windshield and front passenger side windows of the SUV are completely splattered with blood, so red it's black, forming trails like thick paint slowly dripping down a wall.
I don't notice any movement from inside the car. My stomach begins to convulse and I feel the urge to barf. I'm standing completely still, paralyzed, staring out the window at what can only be a murder scene; myself an accomplice? The girl is nowhere to be found, her friends gone. A few seconds pass by or was it ten minutes, twenty, an hour? No sense of time! My phone vibrates, a message arrives: hey! just got service heading out from tunnel now. if u notice a police car outside thats just my dad, he's a state trooper and wanted to play a joke, dont let my friends no. headed up in a min.